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Conference USA football: UTSA expected to win another league title – Daily News Journal

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The Daily News Journal’s Cecil Joyce and the News Star’s Emely Hernandez broke down the outlook for Conference USA football in 2022.

Below are predicted order of finish, who will win the conference title game and why:

Joyce’s predicted order of finish


2. UAB

3. Western Kentucky



6. Florida Atlantic

7. North Texas

8. Charlotte

9. Rice

10. Louisiana Tech

11. Florida International

Hernandez’s predicted order of finish


2. UAB

3. Western Kentucky

4. North Texas

5. Florida Atlantic


7. Charlotte


9. Louisiana Tech

10. Rice

11. Florida International

Championship prediction

Joyce: UTSA 31, UAB 26

Hernandez: UTSA 35, UAB 28


Hernandez: Behind sixth-year quarterback Frank Harris and third-year head coach Jeff Taylor, the Roadrunners have a well-established culture. Last season, Harris was responsible for 566 rushing yards for six TDs and 3,177 passing yards for 27 TDs to establish eight new UTSA single-season records. Returning to the offensive alongside Harris are handful of wide receivers to facilitate a strong passing core.

Joyce: The Roadrunners lost the league’s top running back in Sincere McCormick but have plenty of weapons back from last year’s 12-2 squad, including all-conference quarterback Frank Harris and his top three receivers in Joshua Cephus, Zakhari Franklin and De’Corian Clark). If UTSA can effectively reboot the defense, another title is well within grasp. With that said, UTSA and UAB are both very good, and you could almost flip a coin on which will win the title.

Blue Raiders predictions: How many wins for MTSU football this season? Here are our game-by-game predictions

LA Tech news: Louisiana Tech football coach Sonny Cumbie names Matthew Downing starting QB

Joyce: Why will MTSU finish fourth?

The Blue Raiders lost some key defensive pieces to both the NFL and transfer portal, but return consensus all-conference selection Jordan Ferguson and some veterans around him. The secondary was young last season and will be young again with the departure of Reed Blankenship (graduated) and transfers Greg Grate (Jackson State) and Quincy Riley (Louisville). But a strong front seven, including all four returning starters on the line, should help alleviate the stress put on the defensive backs.

The Blue Raiders offense should be strong, with returning quarterbacks Chase Cunningham and Nick Vattiato both capable of beating conference foes. Sophomore wide receiver/returner Jaylin Lane is a preseason All-American. If MTSU can establish a better running game, the offense has the potential to put up big numbers in 2022.

The talent is there to accomplish a top-four finish. Winning key matchups at home against rival Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic will be vital if MTSU is to finish that high. Stealing a road win at UTSA or UAB could further enhance the Blue Raiders’ chances of a strong league finish. 

Hernandez: Why will Louisiana Tech finish ninth?

The Bulldogs are under reconstruction with first-year coach Sonny Cumbie after the team went 3-9 overall and 2-6 in C-USA play a season ago.

Although Cumbie is entering the new gig having enjoyed success at Texas Tech, Louisiana Tech will inevitably face growing pains. The offense has huge holes to fill and the defense was ranked 106th in the nation last season.

Starting quarterback Matthew Downing played for Cumbie in 2020. The TCU transfer will be making his second career start to open the season against Missouri and will have to shake off some rust.

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